The Rev Response Element (RRE) RNA-Rev protein interaction is important for regulation of gene expression in the human immunodeficiency virus. A model system for this interaction, which includes stem IIB of the RRE RNA and an arginine-rich peptide from the RNA-binding domain of Rev, was studied using multidimensional heteronuclear NMR. Assignment of the RNA when bound to the peptide was obtained from NMR experiments utilizing uniformly and specifically 13C-labeled RNA. Isotopic filtering experiments on the specifically labeled RNA enable unambiguous assignment of unusual nonsequential NOE patterns present in the internal loop of the RRE. A three-dimensional model of the RNA in the complex was obtained using restrained molecular dynamics calculations. The internal loop contains two purine-purine base pairs, which are stacked to form one continuous helix flanked by two A-form regions. The formation of a G-G base pair in the internal loop requires an unusual structure of the phosphate backbone. This structural feature is consistent with mutational data as being important for the binding of Rev to the RRE. The G-G base pair may play an important role in opening the normally narrow major groove of A-form RNA to permit binding of the Rev basic domain.